For the students, faculty, administrators, and others who routinely found themselves onstage before the student body and members of the local community at the Bedford North Lawrence Performing Arts Center, the quality of the facility’s sound reinforcement system was a sore subject.
Speakers and performers alike routinely experienced RF (radio frequency) interference, excessive dropouts, and poor sound quality as they struggled with the antiquated wireless microphone system.
After determining this unfortunate state of affairs had existed for far too long, officials for the North Lawrence Community Schools decided an upgrade was in order—and they found their solution with wireless technology from MIPRO, distributed in North America by Kansas City, MO-based Avlex Corporation.
According to Nathan Lowery, manager of the Bedford North Lawrence Performing Arts Center, whose responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of audio and lighting in addition to supervising students who assist with productions, the acquisition of the MIPRO equipment was most timely.
“Our old wireless system had really seen its better days,” said Lowery. “With so many wireless products on the market now, our previous system lacked the ability to function well in a congested RF environment. We routinely had interference from other signals in the area and this caused a myriad of difficulties. Additionally, dropouts were very common.
“We actually had to keep the receivers on stage in order for the transmitters to be heard. Between the subpar audio quality and the frequent dropouts, the system compromised everything we tried to do.”
Sold by John Schaeffer of Indianapolis, IN-based Indy Pro Audio, the MIPRO system purchased by the North Lawrence Community Schools for their 1,900-seat proscenium style theater consists of four ACT-707D Dual-Channel Receivers, six ACT-707TM PLL (Phase-locked loop) Synthesized bodypack transmitters used in conjunction with the MU-55LX lavaliere microphones, and two ACT-707HM PLL Synthesized handheld microphone transmitters.
Lowery was quick to point out that in addition to the equipment being very intuitive to operate, the documentation was equally informative.
“After taking delivery of the equipment,” notes Lowery, “we had everything up and running in less than a week. The system is very user friendly and the manuals are excellent. I never had to make a single call for technical support. I was particularly impressed with MIPRO’s ACT (Automatic Channel Targeting) technology, which makes identifying and locking in open frequencies a quick and painless process. We can identify an available frequency and program the transmitter in less than a minute. This is a very nice feature.
“Similarly, the range of the new equipment is tremendous. We now have the receivers stationed at the FOH (front of house) mix position, which is approximately 135 feet from the stage and have actually tested the equipment’s range and found it to be far greater than that.”
The Bedford North Lawrence Performing Arts Center is home to 2-3 musicals, 1-2 plays, and roughly 4 community concerts during the course of the academic year. Additionally, a wide range of meetings and presentations takes place there. Regardless of the type of event, Lowery reports the new system is proving to be incredibly popular will everyone who uses it.
“The principal and other school officials have become very fond of the mobility the system affords,” says Lowery. “Nobody wants to use a wired microphone anymore!”
As he re-focused his attention back toward school business, Lowery offered this final thought about the new MIPRO wireless microphone system. “Everyone has been very impressed,” said Lowery. “The system’s sound quality is excellent. These days, we rarely need much, if any, EQ in order to obtain the sound we’re looking for.
“Dynamic range is first rate and the system’s gain before feedback is terrific. We never encounter difficulty obtaining the levels we need. This new equipment makes everything easier. We haven’t experienced a single glitch with this system. I can power it up, hand a mic to a person, and feel confident the system will perform as expected. This is a vast improvement.”
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